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Laura Cooley

What is your current role?
AVP/Director of Training & Development

Why did you decide to be on the WICS advisory council?
Being engaged in your career is critical to personal success and; ultimately, organizational success.  We must nurture environments where people can meet their full potential, regardless of race, color, creed or gender.  WICS advisory council is a great vehicle to make that happen.

What is the biggest change you would like to see come out of the WICS effort/initiative? Our industry must continue becoming more and more agile.  We have to be able to respond to changes in technology, safety, government, workforce, materials, resources, market conditions, etc.  Agility relies on breaking our paradigms and allowing diverse ideas and abilities to influence us. WICS is a great vehicle to purposefully uncover additional assets our biases may be hiding from us.  The change across our industry I would like to see is more people soliciting new ideas, showing respect by really listening and always stop to listen harder when your brain says: we've always done it this way before.

What would you tell someone if they were interested in supporting this effort? How can they help?
Everyone can support this effort; without a lot of effort.  Simply take the time to ask for (and listen to) solutions from the quiet people in the room; you might be surprised.

What's your favorite part of your job?
My job is to provide the best tools and resources I can to support the success of every single person in our organization.  We have a lot to be proud of as a company and if I know I contributed in some tiny way then I had a favorite day. I see so many people learning and growing and succeeding here, I have a lot of favorite days.

What advice would you give someone starting out in this industry?
My advice would be to learn as much as you can from as many people as you can.  We are in construction...get out in the field, experience the projects; understand how construction projects/businesses make and lose money; know how your day-to-day contributes to the bottom line then find ways to enhance the bottom line;  long term success come from goals larger than yourself; finally, "what got you here won't get you there" - never stop being curious.

What is the biggest change you have seen in the construction industry since you started?
I entered construction in a very different era.  We have come a long way. In the spirit of WICS: more women are better positioned for success with more education and experience in technical fields but it is really important to note that the men are different today than they were before.

Who inspires you and why?
My grandmother was always able to love people for who they are and when they are.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?
"What Got You Here Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith

What (work related thing) keeps you up at night?
I am a "seasoned traveler"  but I never sleep the night before because I stress about being late and missing my flight.  I have never missed a flight in my life but I still worry about it.

What would surprise us about you?
I had a boss that once said: "If I could buy people for what they were worth and sell them for what they think they are worth, I would be a millionaire."  When I heard that, I resigned shortly after because I decided I didn't want to be influenced by a jerk like that, never wanted to turn into a jerk like that, didn't want to work for jerks like that and made a promise to myself to never put up with jerks like that.